Karnataka: Around 2000 Govt Pharmacists launch protest, threaten indefinite strike
The protest in Karnataka is likely to take a major turn as the association is of the view that if the government fails to fulfil their demands, pharmacists will boycott central government programmes from February 10 and stop working in hospitals in March.
Bengaluru: Around 2000 government pharmacists attended work with black bands tied on their shoulders, as they launched a 10-day protest raising various grievances and demands including a hike in their pay scale and filling up vacant posts for pharmacists.
The protest was launched under the umbrella of the Karnataka State Government Pharmacists Association(KSGPA). As per a recent report by UNI, in a press conference here, the office-bearers of Hassan district unit of KSGPA stated that this was the first phase of the protest, which would be intensified in the coming days as the association has a fool-proof plan to carry out the protest in 5 different stages as;
Stage 1: On January 2, the pharmacists wore black ribbons on right arms, which they will be wearing till January 12, 2020, without interrupting services and protecting the health of public health.
Stage 2: On January 30, the pharmacists intend to conduct a rally from freedom park to Directorate of Health Services Bengaluru.
Stage 3: Here, the protestors would stop sending of reports and even boycott National Programmes from February 10 to February 17.
Stage 4: Services would be halted from March 10 to March 17.
Stage 5: Launch of an indefinite strike from April 10 until their demands are fulfilled.
Commenting on the recent uproar, BS Desai, President of the Association stated that they made several representations to the government to consider pharmacy education as technical education. However, the state had did not look into the concern that ultimately affects their pay scale.
Elaborating on their grievances and demands, the association pointed out that "no provisions have been framed for the higher education for all pharmacists. (Only 5 pharmacists per year out of 3500 may go for higher education); no orientation programmes are organised for updating pharmacists," adding that "more than 80 plus posts of pharmacists are lying vacant since 1999."
They further sought that the designation of a pharmacist should be changed as 'Pharmacy Officer' as in the Central Government and Maharashtra Government and deputation of Junior Scientific Officers from the Department of Drug Controller to their Department should be avoided.